Shareholder Pressure Mounting On Ford Leadership

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Ford’s executive leadership team may find itself up against significant pressure from shareholders when the automaker holds its annual shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, The Detroit News reports, as many investors seem doubtful that the company’s current strategy of diverting revenue and effort into mobility services, electrification, and self-driving cars will pay off.

First-quarter profits were down 35 percent from their level last year, after two years of record profitability in 2015 and 2016. New vehicle sales in the US are slowing for every automaker, not just Ford, but much of the drop in profits was to do with the automaker’s sizable investments in electrification and its so-called “Smart Mobility” business.

“We don’t manage our company on day-to-day” changes in the stock value, said Ford CEO Mark Fields at the New York Auto Show last month, shortly after it was reported that Tesla Motors had surpassed Ford in market capitalization. “We’re absolutely committed to making sure that we bring value to our shareholders, and we’re just going to stay laser-focused on our strategy of fortifying our profit pillars, transforming the under-performing parts of our business.”

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The CEO went on to say: “You have to have one foot in today, but also one foot in the future. We are doing that in terms of investments… so that we have a very healthy core business, and that we’re growing these new revenue opportunities going forward. I think investors understand our strategy.”

The Detroit News reports that Ford used a “strategy session” with the board Tuesday to go over the company’s priorities to bolster returns.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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